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When I install a new package,and I am usuing medium boxes for both brood chamber and honey supers,how many boxes should I put on at first?
 

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Michael,
Is that a five frame nuc with drawn comb or starter strips? If it's drawn comb, approx how long in an average spring does it take before you have to move them up to a full size box?

David
 

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...or are you suggesting that if you're looking to have them draw comb, smaller is better?

What kind of problems might you see with a 10 frame medium that a 5 frame would help to avoid?

Mine would be on starter strips to get them on natural comb


-Pete
 

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I've found it's much easier for the package to get established in a nuc because the bees can regulate the temperature much better in a small environment than a full sized deep brood box. If I slip in some capped brood just ready to emerge, so much the better. When they build up, you can easily transfer the frames to a 8 or 10 frame box. Drawn comb is your best friend. You'll come out ahead anytime you start a package on some drawn combs rather than foundation.

Jim
 

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pa pete ask:
What kind of problems might you see with a 10 frame medium that a 5 frame would help to avoid?

tecumseh writes:
conserving heat is the first concern (chilled brood) other concern might include... properly pulled foundation, small hive beetle problems, robbing.
One strategy if you do not have nuc boxs (4 or5 frame) is to make a follower board to reduce the space in a standard box to the desired frame size.
 

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Local feral survivors in eight frame medium boxes.
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>What kind of problems might you see with a 10 frame medium that a 5 frame would help to avoid?

Bees seem the happiest when they are crowded, except during a main flow. Any hive trying to get established just takes off better in a smaller space. Perhaps this is my climate (frosty nights in the spring when packages come) but it makes a noticable difference.

A follower would do.

>Is that a five frame nuc with drawn comb or starter strips?

Either.

> If it's drawn comb, approx how long in an average spring does it take before you have to move them up to a full size box?

Three or Four weeks with or without drawn comb. They will draw some comb pretty quickly (if they don't have any) and start some brood. Three weeks later that brood starts emerging. Until then the population is slowly dropping. At that point it starts to increase. At five or six weeks it's probably up to what it was when you put the package in but more than half the space is now occupied with combs and brood. AND the weather has improved by one month into the spring.
 

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I disagree with all the "special" suggestions here.
Just put the queen in (direct release), dump
the bees in the box, and let 'em do their thing.

By the time packages are delivered to any but
the largest beekeepers placing the largest
"early" orders, the temps are fine to be
tossing the bees straight into a full medium
or two.

While restricting them to a smaller area
certainly won't hurt much, it won't help
either.

Just one more thing to have to remember to
do, to go back and remove the divider or
move the frames from a nuc to a full-sized box.

New beekeepers need suggestions that keep
things simple, and low cost. They are not
going to be installing packages in the bitter
cold, so the bees likely won't have to cluster.

> conserving heat is the first concern

Like a smaller box is going to matter at all
in the event that the bees do have to cluster!

Hey, even a split has enough bees to make
a decent spring cluster, not to worry. I've
made lots of splits in my parka, and the bees
have always done just fine.

> the bees can regulate the temperature much
> better in a small environment than a full
> sized deep brood box.

Huh? No, the bees don't have to keep the
entire box volume warm, they cluster, and
they gather over brood to keep it warm.
The ambient temperature away from these
areas is the OUTSIDE ambient temp, which
makes sense when you see how big the entrance
(or even bigger, the Screened Bottom Board)
is in relation to the interior volume.

So, bottom line, just get the bees in a box,
and let them draw some comb. If you can get
some nice new clean drawn comb from a buddy
to get them "started", it might help, but
you'd be amazed how fast a well-fed hive
can draw comb. So get a decent-sized feeder,
and if 1-gallon, check it every other day,
and if 5-gallon, check it every few days.
Anything less, is... less, and is going to
run dry, and limit the growth of your package
into a real colony.
 

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I've done a lot of "side by sides" of this. It MAY not matter in someone else's climate or in warmer weather. But with even less bees in even warmer weather I have still observed a big difference in the success of a small number of bees trying to get established in a small space or a large one.

Yes, if you put a package in a ten frame box they will most likely survive and in the end will do fine. But, in my repeated observation, they take off faster in a smaller box. We've had snow here on May 1st. Packages usually get here sometime between April 1st and April 15th. There are a lot of frosty nights in between there.

Even in warmer weather, I've set up hundreds of two frame mating nucs that get established quite well with just a handfull of bees. I've never seen a handfull of bees that same time of year survive, let alone thrive, in a ten frame box.

>No, the bees don't have to keep the
entire box volume warm, they cluster, and
they gather over brood to keep it warm.
The ambient temperature away from these
areas is the OUTSIDE ambient temp

The thermodynamics of anything (including a beehive) are not directly related to temperature. It's just one factor of many. This is obvious to anyone who has worked outside for any length of time. It's also obvious to anyone who has been in a small tent on a frosty night or a large tent on a frosty night. Things can "feel" much warmer when, in fact, the temperature has not changed. The temperature can remain the same and still have a huge change in rate of heat loss. It's the rate of heat loss, not the temperature, that we "feel" as being warmer or colder. And, indeed, it's the important issue and is not one that is revealed by a thermometer alone.

How warm you (or the bees) feel is not merely matter of temperature. It's a matter of wind, temperature, humidity, heat loss, radiant heat bouncing off the walls and probably a lot of other factors. A smaller space always "feels warmer" because, if we define warmer as heat loss rather than temperature, it IS warmer.
 

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So if you use a smaller number of frames to start your bees do you place the frames at one side of the box and then a board to limit the area?

And if yes to that would you then move the cluster to the middle of the hive body when you remove the board and fill in the open area?
 

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>do you place the frames at one side of the box and then a board to limit the area?

If you want to do it in a large box, yes. I just use a nuc box.

>would you then move the cluster to the middle of the hive body when you remove the board and fill in the open area?

You can. It probably won't matter much one way or the other. But it might be a good idea.
 
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